Iowa politicians dip toes in YouTube waters

State politics may not get big viewership but politicians are pulled by cool factor - and the price is right - free.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor

The political battlefield is slowly shifting its sights from television to YouTube, reports the Omaha World Herald.

Iowa legislators posted videos of State Sen. Jack Kibbie, president of the Iowa Senate, as he introduced a resolution opposing the troop surge in Iraq. That may be pretty exciting stuff for a select few.

"We're putting our toe in the water here," said Rusty Martin, communications director for the Iowa Senate Democrats.

Iowa politicians aren't the first the use the medium to get the word out. Presidential candidates have posted commercials and press conferences online geared toward younger voters, and the price to post videos is right--free.

"The Iowa Democrats are in control (of the Legislature) for the first time in more than 40 years, so they're trying to promote what they see as their achievements," political scientist Dianne Bystrom said of the use of YouTube.

Republicans in the Iowa Senate have discussed using YouTube, but they don't have plans to begin posting videos soon, said Kimberly Steenhoek, a spokeswoman for the Senate GOP.

It's no surprise that political postings have failed to garner the same amount of hits that say, a video of supermodel Carmen Electra falling down on the runway garnered (100,000 hits in less than 24 hours).

"The thing about most YouTube stuff is it's fairly innovative or funny," said Bystrom, director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University. "It remains to be seen who is really going to look at the Senate videos."
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